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Canada: Court orders protesting truckers to stop honking

February 8, 2022

The order follows a lawsuit filed on behalf of downtown Ottawa residents, some of whom said they feel unsafe in their neighborhood due to "Freedom Convoy" protesters.

Trucks in Ottawa
Thousands of trucks have been parked in downtown Ottawa as the 'Freedom Convoy' protests vaccine mandatesImage: Dave Chan/AFP/Getty Images

A Canadian court has granted an interim injunction preventing people from sounding horns in downtown Ottawa.

Monday's court order comes as a part of a class-action lawsuit brought on behalf of residents, some of whom said they feel unsafe in their neighborhood.

Thousands of protesters have descended upon the Canadian capital in largely-peaceful demonstrations accompanied by ear-splitting horn blaring.

The self-titled "Freedom Convoy" demonstrations, now past the 10-day mark, began as truckers protested against vaccine requirements when crossing the border between the US and Canada. It later turned into a broader protest against COVID-19 restrictions and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government.

Last week, the protests included some Confederate and Nazi flags.

How have Canadian authorities reacted to the protests?

After being in isolation for a week following a COVID infection, Trudeau appeared in public on Monday, responding to an emergency debate in the parliament: "It has to stop."

"This is a story of a country that got through this pandemic by being united and a few people shouting and waving swastikas does not define who Canadians are," he said.

The prime minister and his family were moved out of Ottawa to an undisclosed location due to security concerns when the convoy began rolling into the city. 

Truckers protest new vaccine rules

Police in Ottawa seized thousands of liters of fuel and removed an oil tanker in a bid to end the truckers’ protest. Authorities said number of trucks and protesters had fallen significantly, from 3,000 trucks and 10,000-15,000 protesters last weekend to 1,000 trucks and 5,000 protesters.

"We are turning up the heat in every way we possibly can," Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly said on Monday, days after he said there may not be a "policing solution" to the occupation. "We are asking for a major push of resources to come in the next 72 hours."

A day earlier, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson declared a state of emergency in the capital, declaring the protests "out of control."

What the protesters say

While Canadians have largely followed the government's health measures, recent polls have shown increased frustrations against restrictions.

"They don't know what to do with us," said 59-year-old farmer and trucker John Lambert said at the protest. "All they've got to do is come to their senses. It's up to them to resolve it."

A woman holds up signs in support of the protesting truckers
A woman holds up signs in support of the protesting truckersImage: Quinn Bender/ZUMA/imago images

The protests have received some international support, with several Republicans from the United States backing the truckers in statements and across social media. 

At a protest in New Zealand’s Wellington, several protesters carried Canadian flags in solidarity.

"I'm just supporting the brothers in Canada, fighting for freedom over there," said an expatriate named Billy, who declined to give his surname.

see/rt (Reuters, AFP)